Meatheads: a fixture at many gyms. Found by the free weights, they press and curl the heaviest loads in hopes of expanding their already massive muscles, grunting and groaning along the way. But it turns out these meatheads may have a big heart . . . or at the very least a stronger one.

Weighing the Results — Analysis

A 2010 study suggests people who incorporate strength training in their workout may have a reduced risk of heart disease. After a 16-week study, scientist found men who incorporated exercises like shoulder presses, leg presses, and crunches into their workout reduced cholesterol, on average, by 26 mg.dl-1 Concurrent resistance and aerobic training as protection against heart disease. Shaw, I., Shaw B., Brown G., et al. Department of Marketing and Sport Management, Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. Cardiovascular Journal of Africa July 2010. .

Comparing three different workout routines (cardio only, cardio and strength training, and no exercise at all) of 38 men in their late 20s, researchers found that participants who exercised at all reduced their total cholesterol and increased their HDL cholesterol Concurrent resistance and aerobic training as protection against heart disease. Shaw, I., Shaw B., Brown G., et al. Department of Marketing and Sport Management, Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. Cardiovascular Journal of Africa July 2010. . However, when comparing the exercise group that included strength training to the one that did only cardio, researchers found an even greater difference. Despite the study's small size (and male-only) sample, perhaps it's time to reconsider picking up a barbell or two (but skip the grunting and groaning, please!).

TL;DR

Find your inner meathead. A study suggests that strength training leads to a stronger heart.

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